Aymeric Laporte 'could seek Man City exit' this summer as Pep Guardiola eyes replacement
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Aymeric Laporte could look to leave Manchester City this summer in search of more regular playing time, according to reports.
Laporte is arguably one of the best centre-backs in world football, and Pep Guardiola has said as much on a number of occasions.
However, after playing a key role in City's Premier League title triumph last season, this campaign he has found regular minutes hard to come by.
After missing the first month and a half of the season with a knee injury, the Spain international has not been able to nail down a regular starting spot in Guardiola's side, making just 15 appearances in all competitions.
That's largely down to the superb form of Nathan Ake, who has been an ever-present in defence while Laporte, Ruben Dias and John Stones have all spent time on the treatment table.
Laporte did miss a couple of games last month through illness but he was available for selection for City's 2-0 defeat of Newcastle on Saturday. Guardiola decided to start with a centre-back partnership of Manuel Akanji and Dias, with Ake at left-back.
Now, according to sport.es, Laporte is looking to join a side where he would be a more-or-less guaranteed starter.
The report claims that Barcelona would be keen on signing the 28-year-old, although the feasibility of a transfer remains to be seen.
Last week La Liga president Javier Tebas revealed that Barcelona must raise £178m in player sales if they are to make any summer signings.
"As of today, Barcelona doesn't have any room in its budget to spend in the upcoming transfer window," he said.
Should City let Laporte go, then they could turn to RB Leipzig centre-back Josko Gvardiol as a replacement.
The 21-year-old has impressed in both the Bundesliga and Champions League this season and was particularly impressive for Croatia at the World Cup.
His signature could cost as much as £100m, with several top clubs around Europe also keen.
Some footballers respond positively to lack of game time and some respond negatively; Laporte certainly falls into the latter camp.
The defender was one of four City players who asked to leave the club in the weeks following their defeat in the 2021 Champions League final and he is rumoured to be part of the 'sad faces' group Guardiola spoke of in January when he said City's players needed to change their attitude.
Pep Guardiola will not want to lose a defender so talented at playing out from the back but he knows that squad harmony is the most important thing.
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Topics: Aymeric Laporte, Manchester City, Manchester City Transfer News & Rumours, Pep Guardiola, Josko Gvardiol, RB Leipzig, Barcelona